|

56 years ago today

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 It was 56 years ago
Today and nothing since
England win their only
World Cup, to the day
When memories were children
But now lost in the mists
Of time, like an ancient
Crisp bag or bottle of pop
Like a mournful dirge
A sad and tear stained
Funeral, all of those
Rose coloured days
That day of significance
Weighty gravitas
July 30 1966
Victorious but left
Behind sorrowfully
In the slipstream of history
Just a footnote, passing mention
Of a fond recollection
Simply, that
Riotous celebration
In isolation
Burst balloons and
Flattened party hats
56 years of hurt,
Rejection, foolhardiness
Questions, a mountain
Of questions
No more theatre
Neither drama nor ecstasy
Falling flat like a 70 year
Old bottle of champers
A destitute nation
Grieving but not the end
Of the world
Burying gnarled hands
In grave despair
Nowhere to go
Nor comfort to cling to
A snapshot of
the 1960s
Reduced to a microcosm
A faint, flickering heartbeat
That throbbed powerfully
On one day, when Britain,
Longing for their day of fame
And celebrity were rewarded
For their patience since
The first infant cries of the
Jules Rimet World Cup when Uruguay
Passed the baton down
The generational line for
Brazil, Germany, Argentina,
Spain and Italy to claim
As their divine right
But it’s been 56 years
Since momentous echoes
Drifted regretfully down
The hallways, pavilions and
Corridors of our hopes
And dreams
Nothing but hapless
Managers and coaches
With lonely trudges towards
The exit door
What an empty, hollow vacuum
Drained of colour, fallow failure
Almost but not quite at times
But too tantalisingly close
And yet Bobby lifted the World
Cup at Wembley, chaired on the
Shoulders of Sir Geoff, Nobby,
Alan Ball, Sir Martin Peters,
Roger Hunt, Jack and Bobby Charlton
And then there were the haunting ghosts
Of 56 years ago, just over half a century
The shame and guilt overwhelming us
Like a storm tossed ocean
And yet why the post mortems
And probing inquests, the excuses
Lands of alibi, detailed critique
Analysing the obvious
The fact remains though
That Sir Geoff did score a hat-trick
And the Germans were lulled into
A false sense of security
Levelling the game with only
Seconds left and then extra
Time beckoned
Sir Alf, defiant to the end
Screeched out the beseeching cry
You’ve won it once
So do it again
When energy and desire
Seemed to be crumbling like
The Roman Empire
Where was Gibbon when
We needed him most
Then with the receding tides
Of a North London afternoon
Had faded off into some desolate
Wasteland
Bobby slowed the game
To his measured specifications
While Jack Charlton and Alan
Ball with the blond one from
Barking, so noble and regal
Pleaded with the claret and blue
Skipper to dump the ball into a far
Distant county, shire, town and village
Where none could retrieve the game
The Germans, frozen in movement
Blunted and dulled like a thousand
School pencils, nonplussed
Beaten on the day
England lift the Jules Rimet Cup
World champions at last
But destiny would have other plans
No more warriors or mud spattered
Heroes anymore, just the one
World Cup
Soul destroying
But we’ll always have
Qatar at the end of the
Year, more World Cup
Scripts, manuscripts,
Drafts, first chapters
Documentary proof
That Gareth Southgate
Could emulate the template
Of disbelieving Sir Alf
Who, upon the final whistle
56 years ago
Sat impassively as if
He’d lost a dearly beloved
Solemn, a phlegmatic figure
Framed in shock perhaps
For 1966 read 2022
It happened today
Historians have little time
Though for warm sentiment
Go out in the desert, Gareth
And do it again
In our lifetime
Thankyou for being
Here in the moment
In Southgate we trust

4

Notes

Here’s my tribute to England’s fabled 1966 World Cup victory. It was 56 years ago today on the day. We can and will do it again, though.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/56-years-ago-today/